The true division
by Jim Hutson
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“The angel told me to give Zerubbabel this message from the LORD: "You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by my spirit.” (Zechariah 4:6 GNB)
Many Americans praise the election of President-elect Barrack Hussein Obama as a significant, symbolic step on the journey to true overcoming of the racial discrimination which is one of the original sins of the young Republic called America. The election of a bi-racial American for the top office in the United States of America's government is significant and historic, beyond a doubt.
The symbolic removal of the ‘racial’ discoloring of American politics has exposed a more serious and spiritual divide that has plagued the once great Republic founded in 1776 at the hands of British ‘traitors’. "How People of Faith Voted in the 2008 Presidential Race," was released this past Monday by the Barna Group, showing a division far deeper in the fabric of American culture than the human invention of racism ever was.
The report shows that statistically, there was not a significant difference between the votes of African-American born again believers and non-believers. Not only did African-American and Hispanic voters elect President-elect Obama overwhelmingly, they did so without any disparity between the faithful and non-faithful. The divide was greater between the "white" American vote, where born-again white voters backed Senator John McCain by 73 to 26 and non-born again voters chose President-elect Obama by a 56 to 39 margin.
The true division in the people of America started with the fundamental assault on this Republic’s biblical foundation, with the attempts of non-believing and cultural born-again Christians seeking to write God out of the historical and societal fabric of America’s identity and the willingness of the American people to allow the government such power. Where the Constitution declares ‘unalienable rights’ to come from God and not an invention of man, such attempts to remove the Pledge of Allegiance’s declaration of one nation ‘under God’ and the removal of biblical study from public education are symptomatic of the increased progression from a biblically-defined, God ordained faith to an universal, liberal, and all-encompassing religion of man’s own invention. Man’s creation of ‘tolerance’ free and unencumbered of any Divine authority.
In the last fifty-two years, our government has moved from recognizing the central importance of religious foundations in American institutions to a ‘tolerance’ of religious beliefs only if they are visibly insincere. The Supreme Court has outlawed references to God, religious symbology, and stated public prayers in the governing bodies at the Federal, State, and municipal levels and the political elite have invented laws to achieve a society that removes the revolutionary statement that all ‘unalienable rights’ were not given by God to the monarchy and filtered down to the people, but rather all people were so endowed.
Thomas Jefferson expressed this in the Declaration of Independence, but it wasn’t just a spur of the moment grandeur. In 1775, Alexander Hamilton declared that ‘the sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”
Such was the strong belief in ‘God-given and unalienable rights’ in the foundational beginnings of the Republic that our 1st President, George Washington, invoked God at his inauguration, adding at the end of the oath, “So help me God” and made clear the importance of divine guidance in his speech.
“It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes.”
It is because of such foundational beliefs that our Constitution begins with “We, the People” and not a governmental form of human convention like “We, the States” or “We the government.”
Our founding fathers warned time and time again of the danger of an immoral, human-ordained government. John Adams warned “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Charles Carroll warned of a republic without morals cannot subsist any length of time, “they, therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure, which denounces against the wicked, the eternal misery, and insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundations of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
This progression away from the ‘unalienable’ rights subscribed by a Divine Creator has moved under the guise of ‘tolerance’ and ‘racial equality’ for much of America’s modern history.
The Barna Report shows this cultural shift to a man-ordained government in unalterable terms. A born-again Christian, by the Barna report's guidelines, is someone who has made a personal commitment to Christ, believing that they will go to Heaven upon their death because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as their savior. The evangelical, while believing as the born-again, defines their faith by seven other conditions (according to Barna), among which are the assertion the Bible is accurate in all its teachings, salvation is only through grace not works, and there is a personal responsibility to share their faith with non-believers. According to these strict criteria, only seven percent of adult Americans are evangelical.
Whereas the 'racial' divide may have finally been crossed, in a big historical way, a greater historical divide has been exposed. The division, not yet labeled or recognized by any religious or political group, is the one between cultural believers and spiritual believers of the Christian faith. Where one, labeled the 'born-again', believes that the 'teachings' of the faith are interchangeable and triumphed by the cultural definitions of society, the other, labeled 'evangelical' believes that the absolute authority of the Bible triumphs personal truth and cultural shifts. President-elect Obama is a true representation of the liberal, universal progression away from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that has continued from the dawn of the Republic until modern day.
Evangelicals voted for moral issues, then political experience, and then character. Evangelicals were typically registered as Republicans, though the evidence shows that such titling doesn't accurately reflect the vote cast. The overwhelming statistically indifferent voting of African-American and Hispanic voters isn't reflected here. Only 88 percent of registered evangelicals voted for Republican candidate John McCain and just 11 percent for Obama, leaving 1 percent who voted for neither. This Republican-Democrat preference remained the same, statistically, as the percentage in the 2004 reelection of President George Bush.
The born-again adults were relatively close in regards to voting, with 57 percent for McCain and 42 percent for Obama, leaving 1 percent voting for another candidate. The distinction between Republican and Democrat are no longer firm for the born-agains, who were surprisingly as likely to be registered Democrats as they were Republicans. The born-again's criteria for voting also show a cultural shift rather than an religious one; the candidate's political experience, ideas for the future of the country, character, and the economic policies were the order of priority among this block of voters. The gap between the Republican-Democrat preferences decreased from 24 percent in the 2004 election to 15 percent in this recent election.
African-American clergy, with such prominence as Bishop T.D. Jakes, say the criticism of Obama's religious beliefs and support of abortion cross the racial divide. Derrick W. Hutchins, a leader in the Church of God in Christ, a predominantly African-American Pentecostal denomination, was angered by accusations made by white Christians as well as African-Americans who backed McCain, that Obama supporters had abandoned their religious beliefs to simply vote according to race. "What they did is insult our biblical understanding," said Hutchins. "The white religious right-wing determined that if you didn't vote for McCain, you were not meeting a standard of the Bible." The Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell, an African-American Methodist pastor from Houston, questioned the maligning of Obama by "questioning whether he was truly Christian and calling his support for abortion rights "demonic" and "diabolical."
”God brings to pass his gracious purposes concerning his church, without any art or labour of man; sometimes he makes use of his instruments, yet he needs them not.” Matthew Henry comments, “This represented the abundance of Divine grace, for the enlightening and making holy the ministers and members of the church, and which cannot be procured or prevented by any human power.”
If the election of our 44th President had nothing to do with the moral and cultural decay that is predominate in our nation today, but was the best choice for evangelical and born-again Christians to have their desires for moral and ethical repentance come to Washington to cleanse the hallways of our government, why was Alan Lee Keyes, an African-American conservative, who served in the U.S. Foreign Service, as Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the UN under President Reagan, and Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs. Keyes, who was labeled the perennial candidate for public office, has ran for President of the United States three times (1996, 2000, and 2008) and the U.S. Senate in (1988, 1992, and 2004), campaigned in the 2000 primaries and debated against John McCain and George W. Bush, espousing a pro-life, family values, and tax reform plank, in the nationally-broadcasted forums. He was voted as the 'clear winner' of the debates, and yet his strongest showing in the Primaries of 2000 was in Utah (20%).
In the 2004 Senate race in the state of Illinois, against then newcomer Barrack Obama Keyes, an evangelical Christian, said that Jesus Christ would not vote for Obama, then a member of the Illinois Senate Judiciary committee and a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, because of his votes cast in 2001 against anti-abortion legislation (a package of three bills: SB1093, SB1094, SB1095) that Obama argued was too broad and was unconstitutional. Keyes faced stiff opposition, due to a 2004 declaration of homosexuality by his daughter Maya. Keyes would say in 2007 that he loved his daughter and would never 'cut her off' because it would be 'wrong in the eyes of God.' He defended his stance against homosexuality, saying he would not be coerced into ""approving of that which destroys the soul" of his daughter", but would "stand for the truth (Jesus Christ) represents" even if it broke his heart. Keyes defined homosexuality as centering in the pursuit of pleasure, "selfish hedonism", and in an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, a gay radio host, was asked if Vice-President Dick Cheney's daughter, avowed lesbian Mary Cheney, was a "selfish hedonist", Keyes said "Of course she is. That goes by definition." Despite Keyes' assertion, correctly, that it was the radio host who had brought up Mary Cheney's name in conjunction with the statement and that Keyes had at no time personalized the sin of homosexuality, "You have tried to personalize the discussion of an issue that I did not personalize. The people asking me the question did so, and if that's inappropriate, blame the media. Do not blame me." After the election, in which Keyes was defeated by Obama, Keyes refused to congratulate Obama because he didn't want to "extend[ing] false congratulations to the triumph of what we have declared to be across the line" of reasonable propriety, which Obama's positions on moral issues regarding life and family crossed. "I'm supposed to make a call that represents the congratulations toward the triumph of that which I believe ultimately stands for ... a culture evil enough to destroy the very soul and heart of my country? I cannot do this. And I will not make a false gesture," Keyes said.
In the 2008 primaries, Keyes answered the call of the Illinois Republican Party to run for President, stating he felt a moral obligation to run, "You are doing what you believe to be required by your respect for God's will, and I think that that's what I'm doing in Illinois." In the Values Voter Debate, live on Skyangel the Values Voter website, Keyes took third in a straw poll of the attending audience, after Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. He participated in the Des Moines Register's Republican presidential debate, Keyes criticizing Rudy Giuliani's pro-choice position, Mitt Romney's recent change in position regarding pro-choice, and said when asked about global warming, "I'm in favor of reducing global warming, because I think the most important emission we need to control is the hot air emission of politicians who pretend one thing and don't deliver". He also advocated ending the income tax, allowing state-sanctioned prayer in public schools, and abolishing abortion.
These weren't the only things Keyes stood for that reflected most evangelical stance on moral voting. Keyes supported the Constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage. He said he would not have gone to war in Iraq, but it was justified, adding the troops should stay in Iraq with operations turned over to an UN-governed body even though he was not a supporter of that political body.
This hidden division between evangelical Christians and born-again Christians played out in churches across the American religious congregations the Sunday after the Tuesday election. At the historic shrine to the slain civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Ebenezer Baptist Church, his sister, Christine King Farris invoked his memory quoting "I may not be with you, but as a people we will reach the promised land." Farris added, "That promised land was realized Tuesday. Yes, it is our promised land."
"God has vindicated the black folk," the Rev. Shirley Caesar-Williams said as a member of Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh brandished a flag and another marched among the pews blowing a ram's horn. "Too long we've been at the bottom of the totem pole, but he has vindicated us, hallelujah." The Reverend J. Rayfield Vines, Jr., pastor of Hungary Road Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., shared humiliations he experienced in the 'Jim Crow South' as part of his sermon to help those "who had not tasted the bitterness of segregation ... an idea why we all shouted." At the Reverend Calvin Butts' Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, invited the congregation to stand "and give God praise for the election," causing several hundred of the congregation to chant "Yes we can! Yes we can!," which was the Obama's campaign slogan.
In predominately born-again churches (those who would meet Barna's loose guidelines for born-agains); the celebration and triumph of the election were proclaimed by the pastors. In evangelically driven churches (those who would meet Barna's criteria for evangelicals), the theme was one of realization of the historical crossroads made and a call to observe the biblical mandates set forth by the Apostle Paul to 'pray for those in government' regardless of who you voted for. The Reverend David W. Carroll recognized Obama's election as a 'historical shift' and also praised McCain's patriotism in the defeat, being booed by his congregation. He said, "Now is not my time, but I'm an American first and I will serve the President-elect." The Reverend Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said "White conservative evangelicals, not just in this election, but in many successive cycles, tended to vote on the basis of moral issues." Mohler continued, saying. "Those evangelicals will still join in celebrating, very eagerly, that America has elected an African-American president and see it as a cause for celebration." The Reverend Gregg Matte, pastor of Houston's First Baptist Church who had rallied against the society who declared "Hollywood our pastor, technology our bible, and Barrack Obama our President", called upon the congregation to "lift up President-elect Obama" regardless of their personal vote, saying, "So we're going to come behind him and pray for him and pray for wisdom, that God will give him wisdom and be able to really speak to his heart."
Yet, many leaders in the religious community still regard race in the division that is evident across the denominations of the Christian faith. "The contrast between the white religious community and the nonwhite religious community ... is particularly strong this year," said John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Rather than highlight, as the Barna Report does, the differences between the major divisions of evangelicals and born-agains, the media and leadership of the Christian community point to skin tones as a marker.
The born-again community points to any disagreement over the 'character' of our 44th President as racial bias and the evangelical community calls for prayer regarding our President-elect, and patriotic accountability through the constitution concerning disagreement over liberal policies our next President has promised to deliver on. As the cultural and religious shift continues to the liberal, humanistic, and universal policies of the immoral left, evangelical believers drop to their knees in prayer and continue to speak the biblical truths that are becoming increasingly untolerated in a 'tolerant' society.
Wilfredo DeJesus, an Assemblies of God pastor and the only ‘evangelical’ of a 15-member Hispanic panel advising Obama said, “For any one party to say that they have the moral mantle of this country, they’re wrong.”
The moral mantle of this once engaging and unique experiment has been given to the governed, by the authority of God, as our fore fathers believed. George Washington, in his 1795 proclamation of prayer and thanksgiving, spelled out the American obligation to the Almighty God.
“When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction ……are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence towards us…..it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God……and at the same time humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings…..to imprint upon our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity, and from hazarding the advantages by delusive pursuits….to extend among us true and useful knowledge; to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety, and finally, to impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.”
Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States, regarded the liberty of the United States to be God-given and interrelated. “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, could have penned it for the 2008 election. “Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered--- that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes…….With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in……”
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
The born-again cultural Christians celebrated with tears and expressions of ‘freedom’ with the election of Barrack Obama in 2008. Declarations of the historical symbology of the election being ordained by God and an affirmation of the liberation of the African-American and Hispanic people of the United States through the liberalization of our government fall short of the ‘universal equality’ of all people.
The United States has entered a new season of political change. William Wilberforce and his campaign against the British Parliament to abolish slavery faced intense discouragement during the long battle to change the culture of the country. John Wesley, his elderly friend, penned these words to Wilberforce upon his deathbed.
"Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God? Oh be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery shall vanish away before it."
The call to the evangelicals is simple. Pray for the President, regardless of who you voted for. Trust in God to use this to His planned ending and know that He is God, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. We are called, as children of God, to legally and ethically promote the biblical values that our government endorses, and to oppose through patriotic and moral resistance those values which oppose God’s word. “The idea that we would retreat into churches or into insular communities and abandon our responsibilities as citizens is a daft and dangerous idea.” Robert George, Princeton professor of jurisprudence reacted to the GOP defeat.
“Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people and live.” Jeremiah 27:12 For it is God who created the wonders of the world and gave to His created the ability to turn away or to Him in times of trouble and strife. He tells us to submit to human authority, for ultimately they are under His authority and accountability.
The division between the races is blurring even as the division between followers of Christ and cultural mouth-ers of the faith grows ever larger.
Rediscovering God in America/ Newt Gingrich/ Integrity House/2006
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